Chicken Run is back with new characters, but the same hit formula, ITV News Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda says
I think it’s probably fair to say that I am too old to have giggled as much as I did while watching the new Chicken Run movie.
That’s undoubtably the foundation that the original movie, which came out in 2000, built its success upon.
Kids loved it, but so too did many of the adults who were unexpectedly gripped by the adventures of Ginger and Rocky.
The comedy film still holds the record as the most successful stop-motion animation film when it comes to box office sales.
So, surely a sequel was as no brainer, but why has it taken more than two decades?
Sam Fell, who is the director of the sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, says a second instalment has always been on the cards.
“It’s a long time coming, but it’s always been coming. Aardman is not a big studio, so they only make one at a time. The seeds have always been there from the first movie.”
Stop-motion animation is an incredibly detailed and labour-intensive way of making a movie, but that is part of what makes Chicken Run so special.
Using clay and a few other components, the team make puppets which are moved tiny amounts between having their photo taken.
“If you play those pictures altogether – a bit like a flipperbook really, the character will come to life,” Mr Fell said.
“One animator, they can maybe shoot four seconds in a week, our biggest crew was at 30 animators.
“With that we could shoot two minutes in a week, that was a huge week for us.”
The sequel made headlines back in 2020 when actress Julia Swalha, who voiced Ginger in the first Chicken Run, claimed she had not been recast in the role because she was “too old.”
Sam told me that “the first movie was 23 years ago…coming to it as a new director, I wanted to bring a new take to the movie.
“I adore the first movie but I didn’t want to make an homage to it. I wanted to make a new film and I wanted to make it for now, for a new audience and to my ear.
“It’s very much a personal choice, it’s got nothing to do with age really.”
Thandiwe Newton voices Ginger in the sequel, while Zachary Levi replaces Mel Gibson as Rocky.
While many of the fan-favourite characters return, like Ginger, Rocky, Babs, Bunty and Mac, Sam and the writers have introduced new faces too.
Like Frizzle, for example, an energetic purple Chicken with a Liverpudlian accent and optimistic outlook.
Josie Sedgwick Davies plays Frizzle and said: “I don’t know if it’s the first animated Scouse character but it’s the first Scouse chicken.”
“I feel like my generation, we grew up it…so it’s like nostalgia and going back to your youth.”
“So when I first read the script it took me back to being a six-year-old, when I first ever watched the film.”
Chicken Run isn’t a Christmas movie per se, but it always seems to be on our screens at this time of year. The sequel will no doubt be hoping to cement a similar legacy.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is out on Netflix on December 15.
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